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An Apologetic for Apologetics

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect.
- 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

  1. What is apologetics?
    1. Our English word "apologetics" derives from the Greek word (noun) apologia (or verb apologeomai).
    2. It is found in many New Testament passages. See, for example, 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Acts 22:1; 24:10; 25:8, 16; 26:1, 2, 24; 2 Timothy 4:16; Philippians 1:7, 16; 1 Peter 3:15.
    3. Apologia was a Greek legal term, meaning among other things: an answer, a defense, a verbal defense, a speech in defense, (BAG) a speech of defense, a reply.
    4. In Acts 24:10; 25:8, 16; 26:1, 2, and 24, the word is used in both a legal sense, and in the Christian sense--as an "answer" as to why Paul believed in Jesus.
    5. An apologetic is a well-reasoned or thought out defense, or an answer or reply and presentation of a position one holds or wants to defend or prove. In this case the cause is Christ--Christianity.
    6. As used in the Bible, an apologetic does not mean an excuse or "apologizing" for what you believe. That is, it is not saying "excuse me" or "I'm sorry."
    7. Apologetics is a subdivision of Christian theology.
    8. Apologetics is the presenting of evidence and logical arguments or reasons why a person ought to believe in Christ. This includes the whole gamut or types of apologetics and related concerns.
      1. For example, God's existence, the incarnation, the deity, and resurrection of Christ
      2. Also falsifying non-Christian beliefs
  2. Why should the Christian engage in apologetics?
    1. See Philippians 1:7, 16; Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3, and so forth
    2. Because we see Christianity boldly proclaimed and defended in apologetic style in the Scriptures (see e.g., Acts 2:22-32-41; 17; 2-3, 17, 22-31; 18:4, 19, 28).
    3. To preach the Gospel today effectively, we must also defend it
      1. Luther: "Unless the gospel is preached with contemporary relevance, it has not been preached."
      2. We live in a post-Christian and pluralistic world today (multiculturalism, pluralism, postmodernism, relativism, etc).
  3. Who should be involved in apologetics?
    1. Just theologians?
    2. No! All Christians, to one degree or another, should be involved (1 Pet. 3:15). Just as in one sense all Christians are to be evangelists (see 2 Tim. 4:5), so all Christians are called to give an answer....
  4. What types of evidences should we use?
    1. Objectively Verifiable Evidence or Reasons
      1. For Example, the Resurrection of Christ
      2. See, for example, Acts 2:22-37-41; 26:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, and so forth.

Copyright 1999 Craig S. Hawkins. All Rights Reserved.

Professor Craig S. Hawkins, President
P.O. Box 10375
Santa Ana, CA 92711-0375
(909) 393-6109

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